9.30.2009

Wordless Wednesday



For more Wordless Wednesday, go here.

9.25.2009

Friday Fragments





Last week's fragments went well with Jennifer's 7 Quick Takes, and I'm still feeling a little fragmented so it will go well again I think!  (For more Quick Takes - go here.)


  1. Can I tell you how blessed I feel to be a part of this blogging community?!  Yesterday was a rough one from the start, but the prayers that you all offered on my behalf made a difference - at the very least in my knowing they were being offered.  From the bottom of my heart, I say Thank-you!
  2. Along with your prayers yesterday, I did some praying myself.  I don't sit still and just listen well, and since I am participating in the Bloom Book Club (there is a button on my sidebar - the book is Crazy Love) it was a perfect day to do some reading and reflecting.  It is, so far, very timely in my life.  Most importantly, teaching me how to focus my eyes and heart on God, and trust in Him.
  3. Speaking of trusting in Him, Sunday, I am taking a huge leap of Faith.  I will be teaching Religious Education at our church.  That's not the leap of Faith - the fact that it's the 9th grade class is!  Preschoolers, Kindergarteners, and the occasional First Grader are much more aligned with my comfort zone, but for some reason, this is where I feel God pulling me.  I just keep telling myself, God does not make mistakes - over and over again.  I am looking forward to the challenge, I pray that I am able connect with these kids so that they  want to learn and grow in their Faith.
  4. And now I leap to another topic!  This weekend, there is no Mountaineer Football to stress me out enjoy.  We have an off week tomorrow and then host Colorado on Thursday.  I will miss my afternoon of sitting on the edge of my seat, cheering, and losing my voice - but I am glad that my stomach is not doing back flips today.  I've said it before, but seriously, you'd think I was playing in these games.
  5. Instead of football we will be spending tomorrow with my FIL and then having a game night with friends of ours.  Both should be relaxing and rejuvenating.
  6. Does anyone else watch Survivor?  Last season was the first one I had ever watched.  I am now hooked and wonder what in the world took me so long?  One of the castaways is down right nasty, evil even.  When the others get to watch these episodes, he should probably have left the country.  The irony (or not really) is that this guy's real life job is owning an Oil Company!!!  If this is how he runs his business, it's no wonder gas and energy prices are so high.
  7. In addition to Survivor, some of my favorite shows are:  Army Wives, Desperate Housewives, Flash Forward (the first episode was last night, so far so good), Lost, Law & Order: SVU, Weeds, and Big Love.  And one of my favorite things about my favorite shows is my DVR - I can watch when it works in my schedule!  What are some of your favorite TV shows?

9.24.2009

Without Details

I did not get out of bed until 11:30 today.


I was not up late.  I was in bed by midnight.


I slept through the night.


It was a morning when I just could not will my feet to the floor.  When I needed to just close my eyes and be still.  To move between awake prayer and sleep.


I want to be transparent here.


I want to share why I could not get out of bed.


I want to share why I am still in my pajamas now that it is 12:30.


I want to share the details of this storm.


I even have the post written.


All I have to do is click 'publish'.


But I am not ready. not. yet.


Does that make it okay for me to ask for prayers?  Prayers for peace; for understanding that there is a reason; for strength?


I have not asked, because I feel as if I owe an explanation if I am going to ask for prayers.


I am not ready.  I do not know if I will be ready.


If you are willing to pray without details, will you?

9.23.2009

Wordless Wednesday


Edited to add:  This is a picture of the clock at Kennywood Amusement Park that I took while spending the day there with family on Saturday.
For more Wordless Wednesday, go here.

9.21.2009

For Today, 9/21/09


For Today, September 21 2009...A glimpse into my day, just an ordinary day.


Outside my window....cloudy skies, birds chirping.



I am thinking....that yesterday was one hard day.  Really.  Hard.

I am thankful for...a new day.

From the kitchen...leftovers.

I am wearing...blue pants and a red t-shirt.

I am creating...some new plans.  Please pray for clarity in my decision making.

I am going...to Pittsburgh for this month's PartyLite Training.

I am reading...Crazy Love.

I am hearing...Ellen Degeneres talk to Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Around the house...a sleeping dog; a sleeping cat; why am I awake?

One of my favorite things...God's grace.

A few plans for the rest of the week....long walks with Kali; candle parties; dinner with the man.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

9.20.2009

The Agony of Defeat

Yesterday, I wrote about the WVU-Auburn Game being a real test.


Yesterday, I wrote about a Mountaineer team that had a lot to prove.  A Mountaineer team that needed to prove to the doubters out there that we can compete.


Yesterday - here were our stats:
Total Yards:  509
First Downs:  23
Total Plays:    80
Passing:        24 of 41
Posession:     32:45


Stats like these should almost automatically equal a win.  But when you add in 6 turnovers, yes 6, you end up with a final score of:
Auburn 41  West Virginia 30


Losing a game always hurts.  This one brought tears, yes real ones, to my eyes..


For today, I'm avoiding all airings of Sports Center - I can't relive it - and sometime this week I'll read the sports section of the paper to see just what the coaches and players think went wrong.


For today, I'm a die-hard Mountaineer fan and I'm looking ahead to Colorado.


For today, I'm ready for some Steeler Football - and hoping my boys in black pull out a win.  (If not, it's gonna be a loooooong week.)


(PS I do not like the new spacing stuff that blogger is doing - anyone know how to make it space normally again?).

9.19.2009

A Real Test

Last weekend, WVU was out for revenge.


Today, it is WVU who revenge is sought against.


Last year, WVU hosted Auburn and beat them 34 - 17.


Today, WVU goes on the road for the first time this season.


Today, WVU plays at Auburn.  In a stadium that holds 87,451 people.  Mylan Puskar Stadium at Mountaineer Field, by comparison holds 65,000 - but we've been known to invite upwards of 70,000 of our closest friends at times.


Today, WVU faces it's first real test of the season.  No disrespect to Liberty and ECU at all - Auburn just presents a new challenge.


Today, WVU must once again follow Coach Stewart's advice:  "Respect All, Fear None" - only this time, respect for our opponent is not the concern.  The Mountaineers must have no fear.  They must play all out.


Today, WVU has the opportunity to show a nation of doubters what Mountaineer Nation already believes - that this Mountaineer Team can compete with any team, on any level.


Today, WVU has the opportunity to prove that we have moved on.  That greatness on the football field does not depend on one man.


Today, LET'S GOOOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS!!!



9.18.2009

Friday Fragments




Some Friday Fragments, because it's all I've got and I'm feeling a little fragmented myself.  Jen hosts 7 Quick Takes each week, so I'm joining in with my fragments this week.
1)  First, and most importantly, I owe my sincerest apologies to this sweet girl:

She understood that there was another pup featured on my blog because of a bet, and she also thinks that pup is very cute, however, she did not understand how I could leave that other pup as the most recent post for 2 whole days.  So, Kali, you are now the first face to be seen by those who come visit, will you cease the hunger strike now and eat dinner?


2)  Last weekend, during the WVU-ECU game, I reconnected with a friend I had not seen in 11 years; a friend I had been almost inseparable from in high school; a friend who went her way when I went mine after high school; a friend I was so glad to see and catch up with; a friend who I will not wait 11 more years to see!  She used 2 of my family's tickets to take her daughter to her first WVU Game.

3)  I made it until Wednesday this week before my stomach starting doing somersaults when thinking about WVU's game this weekend (it was doing somersaults from the end of the first game until the ECU game) and the dreams didn't start until last night.  Seriously.  You'd think I was playing in the games, not just rooting for my team.


4)  So, I've found a way to distract myself tomorrow - because otherwise, I'd probably be physically ill by kick-off.  The man, my dad, stepmom, little brother, and I are going to Kennywood for the day.  Although, now that I think about it, planning to ride roller coasters and eat junk food while my stomach is in knots over the football game may end up not being one of my better plans.  


5)  Part of this plan of mine, is of course ensuring that my DVR is set to record the football game plus at least an extra hour.  I figure by planning for overtime, I can help prevent it.  If I only set the DVR to record the actual game time, I could pretty much guarantee there'd be overtime and I'd miss some amazing finish.  But, I've taken care of that.  From 7:40 on I will be having a self-imposed 'media black-out' so as not to hear any reports of how the WVU-Auburn game is going.  Upon our return from Kennywood, I will fire up the DVR and root on the Mountaineers as if they are playing live.  Because I'm obsessed fun like that.


6)   While running some errands this afternoon, I noticed the leaves are starting to change on the leaves.  It's hard to believe Fall arrives next week and that this is the last weekend of summer.  Fall is my favorite season.  While I'm not a fan of the winter that follows, I love the changing of the leaves, the crisp air, the smells and foods, and of course football.  The scripture on my header from Ecclesiastes has carried me through many tough moments in the past 2 years.  I know Spring is a time of new beginnings, but in order to be ready for that new beginning, we must let the old fall away.  I am ready for this Fall.

Photo from here.
7)  Let's GOOOOOOOO Mountaineers!!!!

9.16.2009

Wordless Wednesday (sorta)

The last piece of Lauren's and my bloggy bet, was the dog of the losing team, had to dress up in winning team attire for Wordless Wednesday - how cute is this?  Be sure to visit Lauren's Wordless Wednesday with some 'oh how cute' comments - and thank her one last time for a fun bet, and being such a great sport :)!



For more Wordless Wednesday, go here.


9.15.2009

Is that a Goat in Underwear?

...asked the man when bringing the mail in late last week.  

Somehow my response of 'squeeeeeeeeeal' did not help to clarify the situation.  I was so very excited because that means my "Nanny Goats in Panties" pens have arrived!

And as promised, they are wonderfully, fabulous pens!
Thank-you Margaret from Nanny Goats in Panties for sending some Goat Love to WV!  If you've never read NGIP - Go.  Now. Er, Please.  Really, she's hilarious - you won't regret it!

9.13.2009

Sweet Victory

As part of our bloggy bet, the winning team of the WVU-ECU game yesterday, got to write a post for both blogs for today.  My post is below but first, thanks to Lauren for taking my challenge and putting her blog on the line.  Second, thanks to all of you ECU and WVU fans who visited both of our blogs yesterday and cheered on your teams!  I have to admit, each time my phone would go off that I had an email, I would cringe knowing it was probably a comment rooting for the Pirates.


WVU 35  ECU 20


So, when I first told the man (my hubs) I'd challenged Lauren to a bloggy bet, his first question was "Please tell me you did not bet on the Mountaineers?"


I, of course, had done just that.


I never almost never bet on the Mountaineers.


Why, if you are such a die-hard fan, would you not bet on your team, you ask?


Well, first, and most-relevant to this bloggy bet, is last year's game at ECU.  Did anyone (come on ECU fans, even you) really think WVU would lose 24-3?  Nope.


How about 2 years ago when WVU played Pitt at home and all we had to do was beat our 13-point underdog arch-rivals and we'd have a spot to play for the National Championship?  Pitt 13 - WVU 9.  'Nuf said.


Still not convinced as to why I wouldn't bet on the Mountaineers?  How about this little sad fact:  WVU is the winningest college football program to not have won a National Championship.


Being a Mountaineer fan comes with tons of fun - and, sometimes, tons of heartache.


And yesterday had a whole lot of both.


For all of the first 5 minutes and much of the first half of yesterday's game, I thought I was in for more heartache.  Don't get me wrong, I never give up on the 'eers, but I was worried.  I even looked at the man and said, 'this is what I get for betting on them'.


But, I must say, a victory like today's is made all that much sweeter because of the heartaches of the past.  This Mountaineer team rallied from a 10-0 hole, through 4 turnovers, and 11 penalties (3 in the first 2 minutes) for 104 yards to a victory!  This Mountaineer team proved it has what it takes and that maybe, just maybe, the doubters are wrong.


ECU was a worthy adversary, as they frequently are, last year wasn't the first time they beat WVU.  They came to play.  And play they did.  Convert those turnovers for touchdowns and it's a whole different ball game.  A fan who sits beside us was calling for WVU's second team with 6 minutes to go and the score at 35 - 20.  Coach Stewart knew better.  He knew not to allow ECU to strike again and risk swinging momentum back.  "Respect All, Fear None" is what Coach Stewart says all the time.  ECU showed us real quick that we'd better respect them, and our team answered by not fearing them.


For today, my voice will crack and break as it recovers, but with each crack, I will smile ~ the cost of victory.


And most importantly, a Mountaineer team from which no one knew what to expect this year will walk a little prouder; will boast a 2-0 record; will have overcome a horrible start to play to victory; and maybe, just maybe, will have earned the respect of those who doubt.


Let's GOOOOO Mountaineers!!!!

9.12.2009

Let's GOOOOO Mountaineers (A Bloggy Bet)

At 3:30 today, the "Countdown to Revenge" clock over there in my left sidebar will reach zero.
At 3:30 today, the Mountaineers will take on the East Carolina University Pirates.
At 3:30 today, we play to avenge a horrible, heart-breaking, devastating loss at the hands of ECU last year (yes, it was that bad).
At 3:30 today, a little bloggy bet heats up between me and Lauren of Lauren's Home, an ECU Fan.
Our Terms:

  • We'll each have a post today to root on our own team, with pictures of us (and our dogs) in our team gear  - so when you're finished here, head on over to visit Lauren and leave some comment love for the Mountaineers (please keep it to fun & friendly competition people)
  • The winning team's blogger gets to write a post to be published to both blogs tomorrow (so come back and check us out).
  • The winning team's blogger gets to publish Music Monday and Wordless Wednesday posts to both blogs this week as well.

At 3:30 today, this is where I'll be...



  



At 3:30 today, Kali will root on the 'Eers from home (and as you can see, football wears her out).
 


Now you can head on over, please, to see Lauren  - and be sure to leave a comment rooting on the Mountaineers for her, it will make her day, HA!

9.11.2009

Never Forget - 9/11/01


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones!
Has it really been 8 years?


It seems like it was just yesterday.


It feels like it was just yesterday.


My heart is with those who lost loved ones that day.


I'll never forget watching the second plane crash into the WTC on live TV.


I remember watching President Bush address a shaken, scared nation.  I remember knowing we were going to be okay.


I remember thinking 'they can knock down our buildings, but they can't knock out our freedom'.

Image from here.


It was the day that at 8:45am  the world changed.  Forever.


It was the day my (then) 5-year-old brother learned that real bad guys do exist.  It was the day I learned that real bad guys do exist.


It was a day I cried.  It was a day heroes cried.

Image from here.


It was a day, Americans stepped up and reached out.


It was a day of faith and hope amidst terror.


It was a day, we collectively said "You will NOT win, these colors don't run, freedom will win-out"

Image from here.


I will never forget.


We can never forget.


(For more 9/11 Remembrance Posts, go to (in)Courage.)

9.10.2009

Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Seven's Door






Here we Go Steelers, Here we Go!!!!!!

9.09.2009

Fearless


For the third time in 3 days, this book has crossed my path.  This third time it's a chance to win it - and free is definitely in the budget.  So, head on over to Tea with Tiffany and check it out, but don't enter, because I'd really like to win, k, thanks!

9.08.2009

Can of Worms

What is a Can of Worms Post?

President Obama's Speech to School Children

I have to say, it saddens me that this topic is actually categorized as a "Can of Worms" Post, but it is. It is because of the polarization I've read and watched on this issue. It is because before I learned a little more than what was presented to me, I had a different opinion.

I also have to say, that when I first heard that President Obama would be speaking to school children today, it was from Conservative-leaning sources (TV/Radio/Blogs/Etc) and I tended to agree with them because it really sounded to me like he was going to be speaking about policy issues. I even commented on a blog or article or two that I wouldn't have wanted Former-President Bush doing that (speaking to school kids about policy) and therefore, I didn't think it was appropriate for President Obama to do it.

THEN, I did a little more reading and searching and discovered that President Obama is speaking to school children about staying in school. Seems like an OK topic for me. I even remembered liking that President Bush was reading to school children on 9/11/01 (though obviously the rest of the day was horrible).

So, I changed my opinion to: IF President Obama's speech is really only about staying in school and being contributing members of society, then it's OK with me.

Finally, this morning, I found the transcript (copied at the end of this post) of the speech at http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/ and was pleased with what I read. If Former President Bush (or Clinton, or Bush, or Reagan, etc) had given this same speech (with personal anecdotes changed accordingly) I would have thought it was a great speech to be presented to school kids at the start of the school year.

If just one child decides to stay in school or work harder this year because of this speech, it was worth it. I think it's hard for those of us who were raised in middle-class (and upper-class) families; who went to good schools; who had parents who were supportive; who had community resources; who were taught the value of education from an early age to understand why it might take the President of the United States to encourage a child to stay in school.

But as a former teacher, I get it. There are kids who no one has ever taken the time to sit down with them and discuss the importance of a good education. There are kids who no one has ever told them 'you can be whatever you want when you grow up'. There are kids who feel like no one cares and that it wouldn't matter if they just gave up on school.

For these kids, the more times we can get the message to them, from a variety of sources - parents, teachers, coaches, community members, famous people, the President, cartoons,however and whoever - the better! And the more likely that message will reach these kids.

In this world of 24/7 media coverage, news travels and changes so quickly, that a speech intended to speak to school children about staying in school got mutated into a ploy to force school age children to sway their parents to the President's way of thinking. WOW. It's become obvious to me that, more than ever, we owe it to ourselves to not just blindly trust the information that is out there. We need to dig a little deeper and keep an open mind until we have all the facts. Will we all agree all of the time - nope. Might we learn that those we disagree with aren't all bad - yep.

This "Can of Worms" has been opened - what do you think about President Obama's speech to school children? If you haven't read or seen it yet - the text is below (copied directly from the above link).


Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America

9.07.2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

31 20


Satruday lived up to all of it's expectations. It seems like it takes so long for Football Season to roll back around, but once the tailgate is set up, it's like it never ended!



The Mountaineers looked good on Saturday. Definitely some questions remain - kick-off coverage and offensive line work to name a few. But a new Quarterback led us to a Victory, and a win is a win!



My brother and his girlfriend were in town for the long weekend. It was Jen's first trip to West Virginia and to a Mountaineer Game.



By all accounts everyone had a great time. They are now back in Texas and the next time they visit, Jen will get a taste of a WV Thanksgiving complete with a home football game again! (She's already been warned it will be just a lil' cooler in November!)


After a weekend of cookouts, friends, family, and of course football, tomorrow, it's back to 'reality' for a few days and then more friends and football next weekend - I Y this time of year!

9.05.2009

"Leave No Doubt" - It's GAME DAY!



It's Game Day! WVU opens the 2009 Season at Home against Liberty today at Noon. The video above is of Head Coach Bill Stewart's Fiesta Bowl pre-game speech to the 2007-2008 Mountaineers. When he gave this speech, he was the Interim Head Coach. Mere hours after a stunning upset victory (our head coach left like a thief in the night) over Oklahoma, the interim title was removed and Coach Stewart became the new Head Coach.

I saw pieces of this video before every home game last year, it's part of our pre-game video presentation.

I saw the whole thing again on Tuesday, and I sat at my desk and cried (I know, such a girl, geesh). I was overcome with the context and words of his speech, talking to a team of young men whose head coach had lied to them and the entire WVU Fan Base; oh, and informed potential recruits of his plans to leave WVU before telling sending a note with a Graduate Assistant to inform his current players and boss. It was so much more than a pre-game pep talk, it was a 'life' pep-talk. It was telling these players, and us as fans, that Mountaineer Pride was not attached to a man, to a promise of a Heisman Trophy, to a promise of a national title. It was tied to playing hard, and leaving nothing no doubt at the end of the day.

In the past year, and even more so in recent days, much has come to light about that former coach that has proven maybe it wasn't so bad that he left. Yet it was horrible in the way he did it. It was horrible that he told a team that had worked so hard and come so close to a chance at a National Championship that they weren't good enough to coach for even one more game. It was horrible that he took with him, Pat White's senior year Heisman Trophy chances.

If he'd coached that game, would there have been an upset? Would Coach Stewart have been hired? Would Pat White have stayed for his senior year of eligibility? Personally, I think not. For reasons, known only to him, that coach left. He left a week after he said, through tears, on National Television "I will finish my career at WVU." And we, a year and another bowl win later, are better off.

Last season, from the first game, it was called 'a new era'.

This season, it is another 'new era'. The new system put in by Coach Stewart has had a year to work out the 'kinks'. Pat White wears a Miami Dolphins uniform now, and at WVU a new, but-not-so-new-since-he's-been-our-backup-for-three-years, quarterback, Jarret Brown, will take the snaps. This season, the sting of a national-championship-ending loss and a coach sneaking away in the night will get a little less.

This season, the hope of a national championship will start to grow again. This season, begins today.

Today, we will Leave No Doubt! It's Mountaineer Pride!


Let's GO Mountaineers!

9.04.2009

250 Days

It's been 250 days since...
  • The Mountaineers donned the 'old gold and blue'.
  • I've heard "Simple Gifts" played by The Pride of West Virginia.
  • "W - V - U First Down!"
  • I wore my WVU Jersey
  • I high-fived, hugged, screamed, and cheered with thousands of strangers my closest friends.
  • Pat White's last snap as WVU's quarterback.
  • Pat McAfee's last kick as WVU's kicker and punter.
  • WVU defied the odds, again, and upset North Carolina in the Meineke Bowl.
  • Singing "Country Roads" to celebrate a Mountaineer Football Victory
  • Tony Caridi, the radio voice of the Mountaineers said "It's a GREAT Day to be a Mountaineer"
  • The sound of a musket shot graced my ears.
  • This...


It's been 250 long days.


But, tomorrow...
  • A new quarterback, Jarret Brown, leads his team onto the field.
  • My butt settles into it's familiar seat that's long been empty.
  • The magnets go on the car.
  • The cooler is packed with tailgate food and beverages.
  • I reconnect with my 60,000 closest friends.
  • The wait is over,
  • A new season dawns,
  • It is GAME DAY!
Let's GOOOOOO Mountaineers!

9.02.2009

Wordless Wednesday


For more Wordless Wednesday, go here.
Image from here.

9.01.2009

Can of Worms


Separation of Church and State, Pt. 1 - Schools

In the comments of my last Can of Worms post, I alluded to this being my next topic. Thanks to Luke for inspiring the idea (it had slightly occurred to me, but that comment got me started on this one). I also realized as I started working on this post, that it has many facets - schools, marriage, abortion, etc. so others will follow. This post will be about Separation of Church and State in schools.

I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. That said, I also think "In God we Trust" should stay on currency and "Under God" should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance (and that it should be said to start each school day in public schools). These are traditions established by the founders of our great nation and without these founding principles and traditions, we, America, wouldn't be where we are. And with that said, I also think respectfully abstaining from the Pledge of Allegiance should be permitted (and encouraged for those who feel the need to abstain) and that promising to tell the truth in a court should be enough, with or without a bible to swear on.

Yes, this country was founded by men who believed in God, as He is taught by the Christian faith, but it was founded on the basis of religious freedom. It was founded on the basis of worshipping (or not worshipping) freely without fear of persecution or prejudice.

Public schools should educate factual differences among religions (maybe if we learned a little about what we each believe, we could start getting along instead of blowing each other up, maybe?) and children should be given the right to pray quietly as they see fit.

In my opinion, it is the job/role of parents and churches to teach morality and values. Sure there are times when laws need to cover a value - not killing, stealing, things like that, but should government be teaching only creationism or only evolution - nope. The should be teaching both, since neither is proven by something unquestionable that you can touch and feel and see and experiment with.

I think this also applies to sex education. It is a parents' job to teach morals on this issue. Schools that teach abstinence only are turning a blind eye and schools that do not teach that abstinence is the only 100% sure method to prevent STDs and pregnancy are doing a disservice.

The battle between the far ends of issues is missing the huge piece that is the middle. As a former teacher, I saw first hand how schools, public schools, are being asked more and more to raise children for parents. I'm not speaking of all parents, but when even one parent moves their responsibilities to the school, it puts the school in having to teach morality and frankly, that's not what public schools should be doing.

Private, parochial schools have been established as a place for groups of people with similar beliefs to educate their children as an alternative to public education. In these schools, the values and the beliefs of the group should absolutely be taught, as parents enrolling their children are looking for that. But public schools are not the place.

Now, you can get nit-picky here and say that not cheating, being respectful in class, etc are values, but those are values I think any reasonable person can agree. The values and morals I speak of are those that there are vast differences among people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds. It is these issues that should only be taught in factual, equal to both sides, ways. It is to parents to teach their children the side on which they believe and why.

Separating church and state in the schools does not mean we are raising unkind, heathen children. What it means is that we are providing an equal, non-prejudicial education to all. Isn't that what our founding fathers would want; isn't 'all men created equal' a basis for this country? Aren't we doing a disservice to those who believe differently than us if we don't respect their beliefs and learn about them? Aren't we just breeding the kind of fear and hatred that is so prevalent among those who've attacked us? That was so prevalent before the Civil Rights Movement?

This "Can of Worms" has been opened - what do you think about Separation of Church and State in our Public Schools?